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General Education Policy

Mercer County Community College is committed to providing each student with an educational experience that is shaped by the best traditions of higher learning as it addresses the demands of the modern world. For some students, this experience includes concentrated study in particular subjects required for an intended career path. For all graduates of degree and credit-bearing certificate programs, this experience includes general education.

General education addresses a broad range of learning opportunities for students and establishes high standards for graduates. All degree graduates will be competent in written and spoken English. To the greatest extent appropriate for their degree or certificate, graduates:

To an extent consistent with its primary purposes, each course in every program is expected to reflect the college’s commitment to general education, as affirmed in the lists of General Education Core Competencies and General Education Goals and Objectives. (The list of goals and objectives was initially developed through the New Jersey County College General Education Project, and was revised and enhanced with the inclusion of core competencies through careful and collegial review at Mercer in 2004-05). The college’s intent is that these competencies, goals and objectives will be addressed throughout the curriculum, and thereby be realized to the greatest appropriate extent for each graduate.

The core competencies are not associated with specific courses or programs; rather, they are embedded to the greatest extent possible in all courses. The general education goals and objectives are pursued through specific courses which are classified as general education courses. A general education course is one whose primary purposes and overall design coincide strongly with the approved general education goals and objectives. The President designates which courses are approved as general education courses, and the categories in which they are approved, upon the recommendation of the Curriculum Committee. The general education course list is also subject to affirmation by the statewide General Education Coordinating Committee.

The extent to which approved general education courses are required in the various degree and certificate programs is specified in the chart entitled Academic Program Requirements for General Education. These requirements may be met through particular general education courses specified in the design of the program, or through elective choices (from the approved list) afforded to the student in consultation with his or her advisor. These are the minimum requirements; as appropriate to the program, more general education courses may be required. Exceptions may be approved by the President when these requirements are inconsistent with external requirements for program accreditation or student transfer. This chart reflects greater emphasis on general education within Associate in Arts (A.A.) and Associate in Science (A.S.) transfer programs than within the more specialized Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), Associate in Fine Arts (A.F.A.) and Certificate or Proficiency programs.

The faculty and administration share responsibility for assessing these General Education competencies, goals and objectives and improving and modifying courses, programs and this policy in response to such assessment.


Academic Program Requirements for General Education

General Education Goals
(by category)
A.A. Degree
(45 credits)
A.S. Degree
(30 credits)
A.A.S. Degree
A.F.A. Degree
A.S. Nursing
(21 credits)[recommended:
ENG 101, 102, and
CMN 111 or 112]
Certificate
(3 credits)
Goal 1: Written and Oral Communication in English 9 credits
ENG 101 and 102
CMN 111 or 112
9 credits
ENG 101 and 102
CMN 111 or 112
6 credits
ENG 101
ENG 102 or 112
3 credits
ENG 101
Goal 2: Mathematics 12 credits total
 at least 3 credits
to be mathematics
 at least 3 credits
to be lab science
 6 credits Math,
Science, or Tech
9 credits total
 at least 3 credits
to be mathematics
 at least 3 credits
to be lab science
 6 credits Math,
Science, or Tech
3 credits 3 credits
Goal 3: Science 3 credits
Goal 4: Technology or Information Literacy
Goal 5: Social Science 6 credits 3 credits 3 credits
Goal 6: Humanities 9 credits 3 credits
Goal 7: Historical Perspective 6 credits
Goal 8: Diversity and Global Perspective 3 credits    
Unassigned General Education -- 3 credits 6 credits --
TOTAL CREDITS 45 30 21 6


General Education Core Competencies and Goals

General Education CORE COMPETENCIES
Core competencies should be embedded – to
the greatest extent possible – in all courses.
General Education GOALS
Knowledge goals are associated with specific courses.
A. Written and Oral Communication in English
B. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
C. Ethical Decision-Making
D. Information Literacy
E. Computer Literacy
F. Collaboration and Cooperation
G. Intra-Cultural and Inter-Cultural Responsibility
Goal 1: Written and Oral Communication in English
Goal 2: Mathematics
Goal 3: Science
Goal 4: Technology or Information Literacy
Goal 5: Social Science
Goal 6: Humanities
Goal 7: Historical Perspective
Goal 8: Diversity and Global Perspective


General Education Core Competencies

A. Communication:
Students will communicate effectively in both speech and writing. (See General Education Goal 1.)

B. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving:
Students will use critical thinking and problem solving skills in analyzing information. C. Ethical Reasoning and Action:
Students will understand ethical issues and situations. D. Information Literacy:
Students will recognize when information is needed and have the knowledge and skills to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information for college level work. E. Computer Literacy:
Students will use computers to access, analyze or present information, solve problems, and communicate with others. F. Collaboration and Cooperation:
Students will develop the interpersonal skills required for effective performance in group situations. G. Intra-Cultural and Inter-Cultural Responsibility:
Students will demonstrate an awareness of the responsibilities of intelligent citizenship in a diverse and pluralistic society, and will demonstrate cultural, global, and environmental awareness.


General Education Goals

Goal 1. Written and Oral Communication in English:
Students will communicate effectively in both speech and writing.

Goal 2. Mathematics:
Students will use appropriate mathematical and statistical concepts and operations to interpret data and to solve problems. Goal 3. Science:
Students will use the scientific method of inquiry, through the acquisition of scientific knowledge. Goal 4. Technology or Information Literacy:
Students will use computer systems or other appropriate forms of technology to achieve educational and personal goals. Goal 5. Social Science:
Students will use social science theories and concepts to analyze human behavior and social and political institutions and to act as responsible citizens. Goal 6. Humanities:
Students will analyze works in the fields of art, music, or theater; literature; philosophy and/or religious studies; and/or will gain competence in the use of a foreign language. Goal 7. History:
Students will understand historical events and movements in World, Western, non-Western or American societies and assess their subsequent significance. Goal 8. Diversity and Global Perspective:
Students will understand the importance of a global perspective and culturally diverse peoples.

Board of Trustees approval: 12/17/98
Revised: 4/27/05, 10/16/08, 7/20/09